MINGO DABNEY by James Street


Email this review


The saga of the Dabneys is continued here in a story in which Mingo, younger son, follows his heart and pursues the lovely Cuban revolutionary leader, Rafaela, La Entorcha, to Mobile, and from there- in a leaky tub, to Cuba and guerrilla war. Lebanon Valley is finished; that aspect of the Dabney story closed with Tomorrow We Reap. A new world beckons; a new- and seemingly as hopeless a battle for freedom, for democracy challenges. But Mingo is in love. He refused to acknowledge the hopelessness of his love, for Rafaela was a dedicated soul, a symbol, cherished, beloved by the insurrectionist leader, Maceo; guarded by fellow plotter in exile, Jose Marti. Again and again, Mingo found himself carried away by her fire, when she addressed gatherings of her fellow countrymen, raising money and stirring men to join the civil war. But always he held to the hope, and when she and Marti were spirited away to Cuba, he followed in the battered vessel chartered by the backers, captained by Joseph C. Fry. When the ship was seized -- the crew tried as pirates- by the Spaniards, Mingo alone escaped with his life, as a paying passenger, seeking a woman. Then only did the cause win him; revenge for the Virginius; and his fellows. And he threw everything into the fight. It was a pocket-sized revolution, perhaps, but the year was 1895, and the way was paved for a bigger war- and victory. At the story's end, Maceo has died, and Marti; Rafaela has acknowledged herself more woman than disembodied spirit; Mingo has thrown in his lot with Cuba.... This is perhaps more a man's book than a woman's. There is more of fighting -- and less of romance. It seemed to me a more superficial book, cutting less into emotional values, less convincing than its predecessors. Possibly the remoteness of the setting, while adding glamor of a sort, conditioned the reader's response. The publishers are backing it with a substantial ($13,000 and up) advertising appropriation, and the public that knows the Dabney story will provide a large initial market.

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 1949
Publisher: Dial